Memorandum submitted by Lee Valley Regional
This report has been prepared in response to
the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's invitation to the Authority
to submit written evidence regarding the now cancelled Lee Valley
National Athletics Centre (LVNAC) at Picketts Lock.
The Authority wishes to take this opportunity
to express its disappointment and dismay at the cancellation of
the project, particularly as it maintains its belief in the viability
of and need for the National Athletics Centre, both in terms of
staging the 2005 World Championships in Athletics and the "legacy"
it would leave for athletics in the United Kingdom.
To hear the Chair of the Committee say that
"it had always felt that Picketts Lock was doomed" and
Patrick Carter say that Picketts Lock had been "the best
of a bad bunch, or least worst option" was not only derogatory
but typical of the lack of support this national project suffered
almost from its outset. It was particularly insulting for the
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which had responded wholeheartedly
at a time of crisis, acted in good faith and in a very responsible
manner as de facto leaders of the project and committed
considerable resources to a Government-initiated project of national
This said, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
remains ready and willing to apply the experience it gained and
the lessons it learned from the NAC project to any future policy
development regarding the staging of major international sporting
events in the UK.
LEE VALLEY NATIONAL ATHLETIC CENTRE
1. Chronology of the LVNAC Project
2. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
3. Analysis of the Carter Report
4. Evolution of the NAC Cost Plan
5. Transportation Strategy
6. Lessons to be Learnt
7. Way Forward for the Lee Valley Regional
8. Supporting Evidence [not reproduced]
1. CHRONOLOGY OF THE PROJECT
1999 TO OCTOBER
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport,
The Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, announces review of inclusion of athletics
in Wembley proposal after Ellerbe Becket report raises questions
Secretary of State decides to remove athletics
January to March 2000
Working party comprising of DCMS, UK Athletics,
Sport England, UK Sport, GOL, BOA is formed.
Search for a suitable site for National Athletics
Centre in London.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) approached
by Sport England and asked to submit Picketts Lock details.
LVRPA was in the process of seeking a fresh
development proposal for the Picketts Lock site with the 27 year
old leisure centre having come to the end of its life.
Six sites shortlisted.
DCMS chairs site selection workshop with Secretary
of State chairing site shortlisting meeting.
24 March: Picketts Lock selected.
Outline costs at this stage given as between
£90 million and £120 million.
3 April: UK delegation to Paris led by Chris
Smith to bid for 2003 indoor and 2005 outdoor WAC bids.
Concept of new dedicated athletics stadium at
Picketts Lock presented as part of bid.
World Athletics Championships 2005 is awarded
to London along with the 2003 indoor World Championships to Birmingham.
Chris Smith said "the Government will do
all it can to help UK Athletics to stage the most successful World
Lottery application from LVRPA and UK Athletics
to Sport England for feasibility study funding.
£240,000 Sport England.
Project brief and Business Plan identified as
the two main outputs.
Drivers Jonas and Ernst & Young appointed.
Minister for Sport Kate Hoey visits the Picketts
Lock site and receives an early briefing on project.
Comprehensive feasibility exercise began:
26 June: the first Lee Valley Stadium Forum
meeting is held chaired by the Minister, Kate Hoey:
Terms of Reference
"Information exchange between interested
parties and identification of difficulties."
Key areas of risk highlighted are:
long-term revenue funding; and
membership: DCMS, Sport England,
LVRPS, London Borough of Enfield, Government Office for London,
GLA, Transport for London, UK Sport, London 2005 and BOA.
Sport England first made aware by the Lee Valley
National Athletics Centre project team of the challenging nature
of the programme and the need therefore for sufficient funding
for the range of detailed technical studies.
End of stage 1 feasibility exercise. Stage 1
Indicative cost plan for NAC of £95
million with £72 million identified and a funding gap of
NAC design brief developed.
Master programme determined.
Event programme for NAC proposed
Business plan for legacy NAC with
revenue implications produced by Ernst & Young (£950,000
per annum base/worst case).
Initial approaches to prospective
Lottery application from LVRPA/UKA for next
stage November 2000-May 2002 (up to planning consent).
Lottery bid rejected.
2 October: Second Lee Valley Stadium Forum meeting
£23 million capital gap reported.
Sport England agreed to fund stage 2 feasibility
work November 2000-May 2001:
£1.32 million Sport England.
LVRPA spends £75,000 at its own risk in
order to ensure project continuity in advance of the above Lottery
Funding Agreement being formalised.
Key Tasks November 2000-May 2001:
Develop National Athletics Centre
Progress planning process with submission
of planning application.
Detailed cost planning.
Attempt to bridge the capital gap.
Achieving revenue commitment for
Environmental, transport and socio-economic
Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson
LVRPA. Government re-affirming its commitment to LVNAC project
and 2005 World Athletics Championships.
Third Lee Valley Stadium Forum meeting 13 November
LVNAC capital cost of circa £95
million reported again.
Design team appointment to be made.
£1.32 million lottery award
from Sport England.
Following the appointment of Sir Rodney Walker
to replace Ken Bates a "new" Wembley re-emerges as an
option for WAC 2005. LVRPA/partners seek reassurance from the
Secretary of State re: the status of the Lee Valley Project.
Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson:
Government believes that LVNAC offers the best option for 2005
WAC. The Government will continue to work with UKA. LVRPA and
Sport England to deliver 2005.
Additional consultants (Design Team) appointed
and instructed including FaulknerBrowns, DLE (costs consultants).
Arup Environmental (environmental impacts), Ecotec and Oscar Faber
Draft Planning Brief for Picketts Lock site
drawn up by LVRPA and LBE and put out to consultation with response
deadline of end January 2001.
Fourth Lee Valley Stadium Forum, 16 January.
Secretary of State opened meeting with statement re: Wembley and
uncertainty around the LVNAC project. Secretary of State emphasised
need for LVNAC to work and indicated that Wembley, although technically
feasible, would have problems delivering for 2005.
LVNAC project progress reported:
£23 million capital gap again highlighted.
£950,000 revenue cost for legacy NAC: commitment
from LVRPA, UKA, LBE and London Marathon Trust (LMT) to fund the
Design team appointed: FaulknerBrowns.
LVS project being undermined by uncertainty
caused by Wembley review and press speculation. Lack of confidence
in the project affecting efforts to attract private sector interest.
In the context of the capital funding gap (£23
million) the project team seeks to develop a cheaper "bunker"
scheme option working closely with Sport England.
Planning Brief for Picketts Lock site adopted
as Supplementary Planning Guidance to LBE's Unitary Development
Plan and LVRPS's Park Plan.
19 March: Outline design for original scheme
and cheaper "bunker" scheme (£62 million) presented
to the Minister and Secretary of State. "Bunker" scheme
rejected and original scheme wholeheartedly endorsed.
22 March: Public launch of LVNAC design led
by Secretary of State.
Government support and commitment reiterated.
Chris Smith "This stadium is the best thing to happen to
athletics in the UK for a generation. All of us, from all political
parties and from all parts of the world of athletics must now
step up our efforts to ensure that this new stadium becomes a
Visit to London by IAAF delegation led by president
Lamine Diack. Picketts Lock tour plus meeting with Chris Smith.
As the LVNAC project approached the end of the second stage of
the feasibility exercise the areas requiring attention/leadership
of Government were identified:
3 April: letter to DCMS from Shaun
Dawson asking for Government leadership and resolution on the
Capital funding gap (£15
Underwriting of capital cost
Establishing an effective delivery
structure for the 2005 event (NAC, transport, accommodation).
Major public consultation programme takes place
as part of design and planning application process.
April/May 2001: letter from Project Director
to DCMS officers and ministers, sets out areas for Government
lead if project to progress:
Resolve capital funding gap.
Stand behind project/underwrite.
4 May: pre-election period. Chris Smith announces
£8 million commitment to NAC from Treasury Capital Modernisation
Fund. Release of £8 million contingent upon rest of capital
gap being bridged and not available until 2002-03.
6 May: London Marathon Trust announces revenue
support for the NAC.
LVRPA press releases states cost is £97
million of which £87 million is stadium and £10 million
is off site.
(a) Completion of stage two feasibility exercise
Outline planning application submitted.
Outline NAC design completed.
Legacy NAC revenue commitments in
Capital cost plan: £97.3 million
Transport strategy for 2005 WAC and
Outstanding issues (to be resolved):
* Capital funding gap circa £17
Underwriting of major capital project.
Effective delivery structure for
NAC project and 2005 event.
(b) Letter from Secretary of State to Shaun Dawson
(17 May) in response to 30 April letter
Confirms the £8 million CMF
Project underwriting and bridging
of the capital gap not addressed.
Letter from Shaun Dawson to DCMS (29 May) once
again seeking Government action in resolving outstanding issues
mindful of pending election and Sport England assessment of substantive
lottery application of 4 June.
(c) Substantive lottery application for £67
million NAC development submitted to Sport England
Accompanying letter to Sport England
makes the case for funding continuity from end of feasibility
stage into delivery stage, in order to deliver NAC to programme,
end of 2004.
Sport England defers decision on substantive
lottery application until 2 July.
Sport England does sanction the spend of the
balance from the previous grant (£380,000) to allow a degree
of continuity for the project.
With a December 2004 completion date the project
needs to be spending at £250,000-£300,000 per month,
at this stage.
7 June: General Election leads to appointment
of Tessa Jowell as Secretary of State and Richard Caborn as Minister
20 June: Project Team meeting with new Minister
of Sport Richard Caborn.
Outstanding unresolved matters discussed. Minister
requests an assessment of the socio-economic benefits of the £97
Carter review of LVNAC/2005 WAC announced/begins.
Sport England further defers decision on lottery
application until conclusion of Carter review.
LVNAC vision document produced and distributed
widely. Copies sent to Secretary of State, Minister and Carter
Vision document sets out the long term sporting,
social and economic benefits to be derived from £97 million
All work on project ceases with no funding in
27 July letter to Tessa Jowell from Shaun Dawson
informing her of impact of time being lost on the project programme.
Asking Tessa Jowell to facilitate the release of funding to enable
continuity during period of review.
Project team visit to WAC 2001 Edmonton, Canada,
to fact find and learn lessons from 2001 event.
Final meeting with Carter and team 21 August.
Carter concerns: transport and accommodation.
24 August Supplementary information addressing
Carter's concerns forwarded to him.
No dialogue re Carter report between project
partners (LVRPA, UKA or LBE) and DCMS or Sport England.
12 September LBE award the LVNAC development
outline planning consent.
21 September letter to Tessa Jowell from Shaun
Dawson stressing the importance of immediate funding for the project
in light of time lost. Proposed that £2 million is released
to allow "critical" design/other technical work to progress
whilst the complex outstanding matters are resolved over coming
2 October project partners invited to meet Secretary
of State on 4 October. In addition LVRPA and London Borough of
Enfield are invited to a briefing on the Carter report pre the
Secretary of State meeting on the same day.
4 October Secretary of State informs LVRPA and
London Borough of Enfield (UKA in separate meeting) that project
is to be cancelled with the main reasons being: transport, accommodation
and total cost of 2005 WAC event (NAC plus event) as reported
by Patrick Carter.
5 October Letter to Evening Standard by
Tessa Jowell states there will be legacy funds for LVRPA.
Secretary of State also informs the LVRPA that
£4 million from the CMF has been earmarked to part fund a
legacy sports facility in the Lee Valley Regional Park.
8 October LVRPA withdraws planning application.
2. THE LEE VALLEY REGIONAL PARK AUTHORITY
The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA)
was approached in February 2000 and asked whether it would wish
to submit the 125 acre Picketts Lock site as a possible location
for a National Athletics Centre (NAC). At that time the LVRPA
had, for six months, been looking at fresh development options
for the Picketts Lock site. On the site is a 28 year old leisure
centre which has come to the end of its life as an effective regional
facility. The DCMS led working party's search for a site for a
NAC provided a timely opportunity for the LVRPA and Picketts Lock.
The LVRPA launches its 10 year Business Plan
in February 2000. Two key objectives are:
(1) to develop regional centres for sports
(2) to develop winners and champions for
A National Athletics Centre at Picketts Lock
was therefore consistent with the LVRPA's business aspirations.
The LVRPA always considered the NAC project
to be a national project commissioned by Government for the 2005
WAC (the third biggest international sporting event) and to provide
a legacy for the sport in the form of a national centre. Although
in essence a national project the LVRPA recognised the benefits
to be had at a local and regional level as well, both from the
WAC event and the legacy NAC.
The LVRPA's commitment to the NAC scheme was
on the basis that a partnership of local, regional and national
agencies, as well as Government, would deliver this complex and
The LVRPA's commitment to the NAC was considerable
especially as it has a net annual budget of just £9.5 million:
125 acre site (development value
£5 million capital contribution;
£250,000 per annum revenue commitment
to legacy NAC.
Due to the tight timing of the decision to bid
for the 2005 WAC and the need to develop a new stadium, delivering
the NAC was always going to be a challenging project programme.
The first stage of the project (May 2000) was to assess the technical
and financial feasibility of developing the NAC on the Picketts
Lock site. Being a development agency the LVRPA was well placed
to take a lead on the feasibility stage of the project. A project
team was assembled comprising of LVRPA, UK Athletics, London Borough
of Enfield (LBE) and London 2005 officers plus technical and business
planning consultants. Sport England participated in an observer
As the lead organisation and the only organisation
committing funding (apart from Sport England) the LVRPA became
the lottery grant applicant. The fact that for this Government
commissioned national project an organisation had to apply for
the £67 million earmarked lottery funding (as if bidding
for funding for a local sports centre) meant that by default the
LVRPA came to be seen as an applicant/client for this NAC scheme.
The real client was of course UK Athletics/London 2005 but they
lacked the resources and assets to enter into a Lottery Funding
Agreement with Sport England. The ultimate client was, however,
In funding the feasibility exercise (May 2000-May
2001) Sport England required a funding contribution from the applicant.
Of the £2 million spent on the feasibility work £1.5
million came from Sport England and £500,000 from the LVRPA.
With the LVRPA leadership the project team achieved
Sport England of the following outputs at the end of the feasibility
stage (May 2001):
(1) First class design for the NAC.
(2) A costed scheme£97.3 million.
(3) A planning application submitted to London
Borough of Enfield (outline planning consent awarded 12 September
(4) Revenue commitments in place for the
legacy NAC from local and regional partners (LVRPA, LBE, UKA,
London Marathon Trust).
(5) £80 million capital commitment in
place. A further £8 million identified from regeneration
funding and naming rights.
(6) Deliverable project programme with a
December 2004 completion date (to allow for a warm-up event before
WCA 2005 in August).
(7) A first rate professional project team
in place for delivery stage.
(8) A transport strategy for the 2005 WAC
and legacy NAC.
However, there were still a number of significant
outstanding matters which needed resolving by the Government and
other agencies. These were:
(a) bridging the capital gap (as now appears
to be the case with Sheffield);
(b) underwriting this national project's
total capital cost (as now appears to be the case with Sheffield);
(c) underwriting the long-term revenue cost
of the NAC (as now appears to be the case with Sheffield);
(d) putting in place an effective delivery
structure for the NAC and the 2005 events as a whole;
(e) nominating a lead agency for the transport
(f) athletes accommodation.
The above issues were raised with DCMS, Sport
England and other agencies by the project team from early on in
2001. These are set out in the Chronology report. Unresolved,
these critical areas were highlighted as the project's key weakness
in the Carter Report.
The LVRPA believes that it has gone beyond the
call of duty in the part it has played progressing the NAC project
over the past 18 months. Having responded to the call from the
Government and UKA, and proposed Picketts Lock as a site for a
NAC, the LVRPA has through its leadership, energy, resources and
expertise delivered the feasibility stage and was well placed
to play a full part in the delivery stage of the NAC. The LVRPA
did all that could have been expected of it, and more, against
a background of continuing uncertainty regarding top-level Government
support and in keeping with its statutory duties under the 1966
Act. The Authority is disappointed by the Government's decision
not to proceed with a project of such national importance. However,
little more could have been done by the LVRPA project team to
highlight and push for leadership and movement on project-critical
issues whose resolution lay beyond the team's control.
3. ANALYSIS OF THE CARTER REPORT
The Park Authority wishes to make two important
points in relation to the Carter Report before commenting on its
content and conclusions.
Firstly, it was only at 12.30 pm on Thursday
4 October that the Authority was given a summary debrief on the
Report, just one hour before the meeting with the Secretary of
State. It was therefore in no position to comment on or challenge
its conclusions or factual accuracy, but was simply faced with
a decision based upon its content and recommendations.
Secondly, the report positions the Authority
as "sponsor" or "proposer" of the project.
This is not only untrue, but it fails to recognise that Government
was in fact the "proposer". Government created the need
for a new London venue for WAC 2005 by removing athletics from
Wembley. Government was involved in the selection of Picketts
Lock and promised the IAAF "world class facilities".
The Park Authority acted as agent and, indeed, project leaderbut
it did not initiate the project.
The Review Team believed that "it would
be bad value for money to spend £112 million capital plus
significant ongoing revenue funding to provide a venue for a 10
day event". On what basis did it arrive at this conclusion?
It is a subjective statement with no supporting evidence, comparisons
or criteria being stated in the Report.
Furthermore, the capital outlay did not just
provide a venue for a 10-day event. An integral part of the NAC
was a High Performance Centre to serve the London Region (not
just North London as the report suggests) in developing elite
athletes and forming part of the English Institute for Sport national
network. In effect the NAC would create a lasting beneficial legacy
for sport in general and athletics in particular.
The Report says that the "planning application
does not fully cover the foreseen commercial use of the site".
This infers that there was to be commercial and/or enabling development
outside the footprint of the NAC and that this could jeopardise
the project as the site is in Green Belt. This is not the case.
Post 2005 commercial development was only planned within the footprint
of the Centre, in the undercroft of the stands, and did not represent
a significant planning risk. In addition, a Planning Brief for
the site had been drawn up and approved as Supplementary Planning
Guidance to the Enfield UDP and the Lee Valley Park Plan.
The Strategic Rail Authority is quoted as "believing
that the modal split projected in the planning application is
unlikely to be achieved". This "belief" is not
supported by any evidence whereas the application had a thorough
and detailed Transport Strategy developed by recognised experts,
Oscar Faber which, what is more, did not demand a new train station.
The Review Team claim to have tested the journey
from the proposed athletes' accommodation at the University of
Hertfordshire at Hatfield to Picketts Lock and arrived at a drive
time of 40 minutes. The London 2005 Organising Committee carried
out the same test and arrived at a drive time of 30 minutes, which
in its professional judgment was acceptable.
Under the subject of project management the
Report states, "whilst the sponsor organisations and their
staff have shown considerable enthusiasm, there remains the question
of professional management of a complex construction project that
carries a high degree of risk". It was not just the Authority's
enthusiasm that made it the acknowledged leader of the project
and that enabled so much progress to be made against all the odds
in so little time. It was the sheer professionalism and skills
of the project team. Furthermore, a proposed management structure
for the delivery of the project was presented to the Carter Team
in August. This had not been developed further precisely because
of the Carter inquiry.
More to the point, the Report fails to recognise
the responsibility of national agencies, including Government
itself, and other strategic bodies for what was a national project
of national importance. This is particularly pertinent in relation
to the comment that "none of the partner organisations is
prepared to assume the risk". The Authority and the other
partners assumed that Government was a partner too, given that
it was its project and that it should underwrite the risk it was
so keen for others to take. Indeed, it would have been entirely
non-sensical (and indeed irresponsible) to expect a regional statutory
authority with an annual budget of £9.5 million to shoulder
the burden of the risks associated with a national project of
this importancein particular when that authority had already
offered land, capital and revenue commitments, and nearly two
years of time and expertise of some of its most senior officers.
The "legacy" stadium was to have a
capacity of 20,000 not 30,000 as quoted in the Report.
In arriving at its estimate of the capital cost
for the NAC project of £112 million the Carter Team has added
a "potential cost overrun" of £4.9 million and
a "Review Team Contingency" of £10 million to the
project team's £97.3 million figure. This represents an increase
of 15.3 per cent, yet there is no accompanying justification for
the addition of either of these amounts.
The Report indicates a capital funding gap of
£97.5 million, yet it had formally been established that
a total of £67 million had been "earmarked" by
Sport England for the NAC project of which only £1.7 million
had thus far been drawn down.
Whilst it was acknowledged that the Authority
had committed £5 million to the capital cost it was not acknowledged
that the Authority was making the land available free of charge
as well. This was an important factor in the selection of Picketts
Lock in the first place.
In addressing the revenue deficit of the Centre
post 2005 there was no reference to the Business Plan developed
by Ernst & Young. This showed how the income stream would
be built through Centre usage and on-site private sector developments
to take over from the initial public sector funding as that expired
or became unnecessary.
The Report fails to attach any "value"
to the legacy that the Centre would provide for athletics in particular
and sport in general, from local and community level through to
regional and national level, from grass root aspirants to world
champions. It was not to be a one-off event stadium but an investment
in the future of UK sport.
4. EVOLUTION OF NAC COST PLAN
February 2000Picketts Lock selected by
Sport England, UKA, DCMS consortiumApproximate cost provided
in March 2000: £90-£120 million (range inclusive of
new station but depending primarily on roofing configuration).
May 2000Drivers Jonas Technical Feasibility
Study commissionedbudget cost plan in October 2000 Report:
£90-£95 million (excluding new station and retractable
November 2000Design Team FaulknerBrowns
selected in view of their reputation for designing cost effective
February 2001Cost Consultant DLE appointed.
Initial cost plan conforms with Drivers Jonas' October 2000 estimate
of £90-£95 million.
February 2001£62 million minimal
"Bunker Scheme" concept developed and costed. Rejected
as unacceptable to Client Group and Ministers.
February 2001Drivers Jonas Project Brief
reviewed and rationalised. DLE Stadium cost estimate: £77
million to £85 million (excluding a new station and approximately
£10 million services and off-site costs).
March 2001Press Launch of Stadium design
by Secretary of State. Cost estimate £87 million (excluding
a new station and approximately £10 million services and
May 2001Stage C design completed and
planning application submitted. DLE cost estimate £86.5 million
(excluding a new station) plus approximately £10 million
services and off-site costs.
5. TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY
Following appointment of Transportation Consultant
Oscar Faber in October 2000, meetings were immediately sought
with the rail industry to investigate the potential role of rail
in transporting people to and from the proposed NAC development.
As well as arranging early meetings with Railtrack and WAGN, Oscar
Faber met with the SRA (sSRA as it was then) on 16 October 2000.
It quickly became clear from the meetings with
the rail industry that there were a number of complex rail issues
relating to the potential level of service that could be provided
on the Lee Valley line to serve either the existing Ponders End
Station or a possible new station at Picketts Lock.
Accordingly Oscar Faber prepared a Rail Issues
Technical Paper to summarise the key issues. This paper was copied
to the rail industry, months before the submission of the planning
application in order to encourage feedback. Comments were received
from Railtrack and WAGN only. The paper considered a wide range
of possible service enhancement options that could assist in providing
a higher modal split by rail. A number of these enhancement options
were clearly dependent on third parties and could not be progressed
by the applicant alone. The rail issues paper was included in
the Planning Application as Technical Appendix 5.1.
Oscar Faber's assessments indicated that due
to the existing capacity problems on the Lee Valley Line during
peak hours, it would not be possible to provide a rail-led modal
split to the proposed development under the existing two-track
arrangement. It was apparent that the issue of whether a new station
was to be provided was significantly less important than whether
additional tracks were to be provided as part of the West Anglia
Route Modernisation (WARM) enhancement programme. Accordingly
the transport strategy in the planning application did not propose
a new station but relied on a balanced package of transport improvements
to encourage a significant shift to non-car modes. Throughout
the course of the study a decision was awaited from the SRA as
to whether additional tracks were to be provided as part of the
WARM enhancement programme. The SRA finally confirmed in their
letter of 14 August, after submission of the planning application
in May 2001, that the provision of additional tracks would not
be achievable prior to the WCA in 2005.
Oscar Faber continued to liaise with the rail
industry throughout the development of the transport strategy
and repeatedly requested, without success, that the rail industry
provide details of the estimated level of service that could be
provided under the existing two track and proposed four track
arrangements in peak and off peak conditions.
In the absence of the rail industry's own estimates,
Oscar Faber had to make their own assumptions on the potential
level of service by rail, based on their understanding of rail
issues and their discussions with the rail industry. Due to the
uncertainty regarding the WARM enhancement programme and whether
or not a new station is to be proposed as part of a separate application,
Oscar Faber considered the possible levels of service that could
be provided under three alternative scenarios, namely, existing
two track, two track with new station and four track with new
station. The later two were included as potential future enhancements
and did not form part of the planning application proposals as
they were not deemed necessary in order to achieve a significant
shift in the level of access achievable by public transport modes.
The transport strategy, whilst not relying on
either the WARM enhancements or provision of a new station at
Picketts Lock, made provision for an improved pedestrian link
to Ponders End Station located 1 kilometre (approximately a 20
minute walk) from Picketts Lock. The transport strategy also made
provision for a pedestrian link to be designed in to the scheme
to allow a direct route over Meridian Way in the event that the
transport agencies were to provide a new station to serve Picketts
During the lifetime of the project none of the
transportation agencies or authorities stepped forward to lead
on the delivery of the transport strategy or rail enhancements
On 29 August 2001, the Mayor of London resolved
that he was not minded to direct Enfield Council to refuse planning
permission subject to certain requirements and conditions, including
"at the very least" the provision of an events-only
railway station at Picketts Lock.
At their Planning Committee meeting on 12 September
2001 the London Borough of Enfield resolved it was minded to grant
planning permission subject to conditions and the applicant entering
into a Section 106 Agreement. In response to the Mayor's comments,
one condition required "that the use of the stadium for major
events including the World Athletics Championships, shall not
commence until a new events only station together with the approved
pedestrian linkages have been constructed and are available for
use. The Station shall be open for the duration of the Championships
and all major legacy events".
In conclusion, it is to be noted that at the
outset of the transport study it was fully anticipated that rail
would form a key element of the transport strategy and a variety
of potential rail options were investigated. However, a combination
of the existing capacity problems, lack of co-operation form the
rail industry, a lack of commitment to the project by the transportation
agencies and authorities, and the tight timescale that the consultants
were required to work to in order to secure improvements by the
WCA in 2005 led to a transport strategy that relied predominantly
on alternative modes, and in particular, park-and-ride. The transport
strategy that evolved and was submitted in support of the application
recognised that the modal split by rail, under the existing two
track arrangement, would be limited due to existing capacity constraints,
hence the reliance on alternative options such as temporary shuttle
buses to key interchanges, coaches and park and ride.
6. LESSONS TO BE LEARNT
1. Underbudgeting: from the very start it
was acknowledged by all the relevant parties (DCMS, Sport England,
UK Athletics, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority) that the Lee
Valley National Athletics Centre (LVNAC) was circa £100 million
project, yet a lottery budget of £67 million was earmarked.
Why? This meant that the project team spent a great deal of time
and energy over 18 months seeking to bridge this significant capital
funding gap. A national project commissioned by Government to
host the third biggest international sporting event should have
had sufficient funding allocated to it from the very beginning.
2. The failure to attract third party funding
commitments: for the entirety of its short 18 months life the
NAC project was bedevilled by lack of confidence, continual uncertainty
and endless negative press speculation. This negative climate
was fed by the never ending Wembley saga and the failure of Government
to match supportive statements with a tangible commitment and
As a consequence it proved impossible to obtain
more than just interest from public and private sector organisations
re: funding and investment for the NAC project.
3. Effective delivery structure for London
The 2005 WAC was a project comprising of four
major components: NAC, transport, accommodation and the event.
All discrete projects yet all inextricably linked. What was needed,
but never developed, was a cohesive and clear project management
structure embracing the four projects. The Lee Valley Stadium
Forum and the NAC Stakeholders Board provided forums for information
exchange and problem identification but they were not constituted
with a mandate/authority to deliver with accountabilities and
A highly complex and challenging project requiring
the commitment of local, regional and national agencies must have
in place an effectively led, well resourced and accountable project
delivery body. The absence of such a body/organisation greatly
undermined the ability of London 2005 WAC to establish an identity
and effectively deliver over the past 18 months.
4. Funding National Sports Facilities
Is there a policy for the funding of national
Traditionally national sports facilities have
been funded centrally: Bisham Abbey, Lilleshall, Crystal Palace,
Holme Pierrepoint, both in terms of capital and revenue. These
national centres are in fact owned and managed (via third party
contractors) by Sport England.
As with the existing national centres the LVNAC
would have run at a significant revenue cost in the early years.
However, in the case of the LVNAC local and regional partners
were willing to fund the base case revenue cost of £950,000
per annum (pre private sector development). What the partners
could not do is underwrite the revenue cost of this national facility
over its lifetime (as required by Sport England).
It is interesting to note that the long term
viability of the publicly funded Commonwealth Games stadium is
being safeguarded by removing the athletics track and handing
the stadium over to a professional football club.
In the case of the LVNAC the objective was to
develop a legacy facility for the development of future champions
along with a modern state of the art stadium for the WAC and future
Football is a "rich" sport. Athletics
does not generate or attract money on anything like the same scale
and yet it is equally important to the nation in the international
sporting arena. It costs to develop this sport and it is important
to establish partnerships with the private sector seeking synergy
and economy where possible. But the question is who pays for national
facilities? At the very least the cost should be met jointly by
local, regional and national agencies. As for the underwriting
of revenue cost over the lifetime of a national facility should
this be the responsibility of local/regional agencies?
There are clearly anomalies and inconsistencies
with existing policy, suggesting a review is perhaps required.
7. WAY FORWARD FOR THE LEE VALLEY REGIONAL
With regards to the Picketts Lock site the Lee
Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) will pick up where it left
off 18 months ago before the NAC project came on the agenda.
The LVRPA will press ahead with finding a development
solution for Picketts Lock, a solution consistent with its regional
The offer of a £4 million grant (from the
CMF) made by the Secretary of State, to part fund a legacy sports
facility in the Park is of course welcome (attached copy of letter
form Secretary of State published in the Evening Standard).
Over the coming months the LVRPA will assess a number of options
and work closely with DCMS, Sport England and sport governing
bodies in working up proposals.
There is still a possibility that the London
Region high Performance Centre could be sited in the Lee Valley
Regional Park, at Picketts Lock or another site. UK Athletics
is about to go through a site selection exercise and the Park
Authority will need to look very carefully at the cost/benefits
of a stand alone High Performance Centre, including the long term
revenue implications. It will also need to weigh up the risks
associated with a lottery funded project, versus a more commercial
approach to the redevelopment of the Picketts Lock Leisure Centre.
19 October 2001